The pinenote is an eink table by pine64 that is aimed at developers to write software for and play around with. I ordered one just to tinker around with it and see if an eink reader has a use case for me personally. The device seemed pretty cool but ended up relegated to the corners of my room and mind till I fished out some photos today.
Unboxing the Pinenote
The pinenote had a nice unboxing experience and felt more like a “complete” package than I had expected. The tablet had came with a cover (the adhesive meant it’s not meant as a removable option after its sticked on) and digital pen with a microusb end. The pen is magnetic and the cover has a dedicated space next to the device for it to stick to. The pinenote was preloaded with an android flavoring, coming with a note taking app, photos, and web browser (though I’m not sure if I’ll recommend watching videos on this with its refresh rate).
Using the Pinenote
But that’s all the boring stuff, this thing can run desktop Linux!
I followed these instructions and was able to get Arch Linux running with KDE.
It was pretty cool to have linux in a tablet form factor. I think KDE deserves more credit for its flexibility considering how well it worked on here. Using widgets and the full screen app launcher menu made it feel more at home than I would’ve expected.
There are some cons with the device however. For one, it is slow as molasses. Just customizing the KDE desktop with widgets pegged the CPU near 100%. The photo below shows some of the specs. Though it works as a tablet, I wouldn’t recommend it for anything more than reading and note taking. The virtual keyboard was agonizingly slow to use. The GPU as far as I know can’t be used with the mainline linux os though I wonder how much of a difference it would make.